In one of the first classes of the year we discussed what the definition of myth was, and in the end we did not come up with a definite answer as myth is not very definable. We did come to a conclusion that myth must be a story, and in most cases it should be oral. This means that a myth can be easily changed as no one orally presenting a story is going to tell the same exact story each time. This can cause an issue when people are trying to record myths. In the textbook it is pointed out that many writers would have to rationalize their work when recording myth. Rationalization is when something is made to be more logical or reasonable, but by doing so a made-up reason must be added. This means that many of the authors of myth, that recorded these stories down for others to read, would have to rationalize the myth in some way. Most of these authors would have to so call “clean up” the stories so it made more logical sense to their readers. This means that the myth would be altered in an ever so slightly way that it made some kind of connection between all of the different stories.
The best example of this would be how Snorri in Prose Edda started it with a prologue that was deeply connected to the bible. Snorri at this time treasured and wanted to preserve the creation myth of Iceland, but new that it did not connect and in many ways contradicted the Christianity that was spreading. As Snorri himself was a Christian believer he rationalized the creation myth by creating a prologue that quotes the Bible. This rationalization made the creation stories of Iceland have a connection to the Bible. This connection was made up, but Snorri had to rationalize the creation myth because if he did not his Prose Edda would contradict the religion of his culture.
Rationalization is seen throughout many of creation myths that we have looked at and I find it very interesting. It is interesting that myth is so easily rationalized in order to please a culture or make a story make more sense.